"jeezum crow"

Ann Burlingham ann at BURLINGHAMBOOKS.COM
Fri Oct 29 18:46:31 UTC 2010

On Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 10:53 AM, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      "jeezum crow"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> taboo-avoidance form for "jesus christ"; it appeared in a comment from a Facebook friend who grew up in Maine. googling pulls up Vermont and New Brunswick as well, and another Facebook friend added northern NY. DARE has it for Vermont and Northern NY, but it's clear that the distribution is wider, and almost surely takes in New Hampshire as well.
> though apparently still geographically restricted. does anyone have reports of the form from speakers without a history in this region?  (the friend who first used it now lives in California, and before that in Boston, but she picked it up in her Maine childhood.)  Jon, do you have it in your files?
> almost surely it was innovated by people in a very small group -- since it's fairly distant from the model -- and then spread, but this is the sort of history we'll probably never be able to unearth.

The phrase seemed familiar to me, but maybe that's from going to
school in New England. A quick survey of co-workers: the one in her
fifties who grew up in western NY: never heard of it. The 33-year-old
who grew up all over, knows it from going to school at SUNY
Plattsburgh, where, he reports, there was (is?) a band by that name.

I was surprised to hear or read someone else using "Christ on a
crutch". I have no idea where I got that one from, either but I use it
a lot.

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